Paul Few DUP Assembly and Chairperson of the Justice Committee has acted on his commitments to victims of stalking by launching a review of stalking following on from the debate in the Assembly on September 12 which was moved by his DUP colleague Brenda Hale MLA.
The review will assess current legislation in place in Northern Ireland to identify the gaps and to consider the potential benefits of introducing specific stalking legislation.
The Committee will identify the extent, types and impacts of stalking experienced by victims, as well as examine the key issues and the handling of cases by the criminal agencies. We will also consider examples of stalking legislation in other comparable jurisdictions.
The review will run from November 2016 to April 2017. The committee will meet with criminal justice organisations and agencies, practitioners and voluntary and support groups working with victims and survivors. They are keen to receive information on survivor experiences and will make appropriate arrangements to accommodate evidence from individuals and/or their families.
Laura Richards, Co-Founder and Director of Paladin, National Stalking Advocacy Service said “We are very grateful to Paul Frew and Brenda Hale for giving a voice to so many victims of stalking who have previously been in the shadows and voiceless. This review is very much welcomed and it’s important that victim voices and experiences are at the centre of it. We have advised on many cases in Northern Ireland and without the stalking law, victims continue to be left unprotected, unsupported and vulnerable. This is about preventing murders in slow motion – both psychologically and physically. It is time that the legislative framework in Northern Ireland caught up on this very serious issue”.